• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The purpose and role of special policy advisers.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The purpose and role of special policy advisers has been a prevolent issue in the UK for over 30 years. The fact is that as time has passed, their role has increased, quite considerably. There are two types of Special Adviser, one is appointed for their specific expertise, second is the more common, political appointment. They are appointed to a particular departmental minister to deal with a range of issues such as assisting with speech writing and being the political link between the minister and the party and with other bodies outside the department. Heywood, in his book 'Politics', says, "By virtue of their expertise and specialist knowledge, bureaucrats or civil servants play a crucial role in policy formation, leaving the political executive to establish the overall direction of government policy." He goes on to say, "The bureaucrat's role is as the chief source of policy info and advice available to Government." However, in actual practice, of late, it would be fair to say there is more emphasis upon the bureaucrat/special adviser, rather then the civil servant. ...read more.

Middle

Peter Hennessy in his book, 'The Secret World of Cabinet Committees', written in 1985, tells us how she dealt with departmental ministers often out of cabinet: "Mrs. Thatcher will ask a particular Cabinet Colleague to prepare a paper on a specific issue just for her; not for the full Cabinet or even for a Cabinet committee. This explains why her tally of Cabinet papers is so low; between 60 and 70 last year, about one sixth of the flow in the early 1950's. When the Prime Minister has received the paper, the minister is summoned to No. 10 with his back up team. He sits across the table from Mrs. Thatcher and her team, which can be a blend of people from the Downing Street Private Office, the No. 10 Policy Unit, the Cabinet Office, and if money is involved, the Treasury. She then, in the words of one insider, proceeds to 'act as judge and jury in her known cause'. While eschewing the lure of a Prime Minister's department, he has greatly strengthened the Cabinet office to institutionalise the dominance of No. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mo Mowlam, took at sideswipe at the Prime Minister, claiming on the BBC Website that "a small number of unelected advisers were wielding too much power in Blair's administration", she went on to say "they seem to be operating instead of the Cabinet." Indeed Blair turned to the Fabian Society, the Policy Studies Institute and Demos. John Kingdom, in his book 'Government and Politics in Britain' writes, "When Blair came to power, senior Civil Servants were obliged to see their advice overturned by 'policy wonks' only a few years out of Oxbridge." John Rentoul, in his biography 'Tony Blair, Prime Minister' noted that many viewed Blair's friend and close aide Alistair Campbell as "the 23rd member of the Cabinet, the real Cabinet Secretary." Special advisers are viewed by many to be the direct cause of what some call 'a devaluation of Cabinet government'. John Kingdom quotes from the book 'In My Way', written by Lord George Brown in 1972, "I resigned on a matter of fundamental principle, because it seemed to me that the Prime Minister (Wilson) was not only introducing a 'presidential' system into the running of the government... far too often outsiders in his entourage seemed to be almost the only effective 'Cabinet'." ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree UK Government & Parliamentary Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree UK Government & Parliamentary Studies essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How presidential is the premiership of Tony Blair.

    3 star(s)

    The number 10 Policy unit has been strengthened, under the control, along with other No. 10 institutions such as the Premiership office, firstly of Jonathon Powell, and more recently Alistair Campbell, equivalent for some to a US style Presidential Chief of Staff (and indeed this title has been used)2.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    DOES TONY BLAIR RUN A PRESIDENTIAL-STYLE ADMINISTRATION

    Many MPs felt that Tony Blair's actions in the run up to the Iraq war distinguished this government from others as being more presidential. It is evident that Tony Blair was successful in imposing his own will on that of the country.

  1. Modern Studies Dissertation

    By-election successes continued, with victories in Newbury, Christchurch and Eastleigh. On 1 May 1997, the Liberal Democrats won 46 seats, the highest number won by a third party since 1929. The election campaign was fought under the slogan 'Make the Difference', and focused heavily on the need for investment in education and health.

  2. How far is it true to say that Britain has moved from a system ...

    But we cannot afford to be so rigid and by looking at the big picture, the practise of Prime Ministerial government is only to a certain extent.

  1. social policy

    More economically developed countries (MEDC) exploit the worlds' poorer countries and are biased towards the richest. Britain is in a strong position to influence trade rules to give families a better chance at life; a chance to sell fairly and to more countries. Fair trade is a response to unjust trading rules and practices that make the poor poorer and the rich richer.

  2. How successful has, Tony Blairs British government been at pursuing an 'ethical foreign policy'.

    new Labour government came into power, their ethical foreign policy implied there would be no more dealing with governments who carried out such atrocities, so it came as a huge embarrassment when only days after Robin Cook made his mission statement, it was shown that several Hawk jets had been sold to the Indonesians.

  1. European Union: Council of Ministers.

    and the Justice Party (AP) were subsequently barred from taking part in national politics for at least ten years. In elections since the restoration of civilian rule, the Motherland Party (ANAP) won parliamentary majorities in both 1983 and 1987. The True Path Party (DYP) won the largest number of seats in the 1991 parliamentary elections.

  2. 'Real decision making power rests with the Prime Minister rather than the Cabinet.' Do ...

    Recently we have seen how Robin Cook was 're-shuffled' by Tony Blair to become Leader of the House after his ventures as foreign secretary. The Cabinet meets as a body in order to discuss issues relevant to the country. If something is supported in the House of Commons and has Cabinet support behind it then it becomes Government policy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work